United States v. Pfaff, Docket Nos. 09-1702-cr(L), 09-1707-cr(CON), 09-1790-cr (CON) (2d Cir. Aug. 27, 2010) (found here)
The latest from the Second Circuit in the KPMG tax case, described as "the largest criminal tax case in American history."
18 U.S.C. 3571 governs the imposition of criminal fines. It provides that an individual may be fined a maximum of $250,000 per offense, and allows for an "[a]lternative fine based on gain or loss." In this case, the jury found defendant Larson guilty of twelve felony offenses, but made no specific findings as to the pecuniary gain or loss caused by his conduct. Absent such findings, the "statutory maximum" fine Larson could receive was $3 million ($250,000 for each of his twelve felony convictions) -- the maximum fine that could be imposed based on the facts reflected in the jury verdict. Still, the district court fined Larson $6 million, which figure was supported only by the district court's own judicial fact-finding.
It as that finding that the Second Circuit found violated the rule of Apprendi -- that is, "[o]ther than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyong the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt" and that "the statutory maximum for Apprendi purposes is the maximum sentence a judge may impose solely on the basis of the facts reflected in the jury verdict or admitted by the defendant."
Fine vacated, and remanded to the district court for further proceedings consistent with the Second Circuit's opinion.